This is a bit of a different post. But it is weighing heavy on my heart.
So heavy that I feel physically ill.
Social injustice is not something I have to deal with very often.
Sure growing up afakasi (half caste) has it’s cons but it is nothing compared to what some people have to deal with everyday.
This post has less to do with skin care, and more to do with people like George Floyd.
That’s a name that’s been on people lips for all the wrong reasons.
George was a man, like you or dad or uncle or grandfather or brother.
Played football in high school, went to college, had the opportunity to pursue a career in sports, but he decided to work to make money to support his daughter. According to an interview in the NY times, he was known as a gentle giant because he was so big but also known to be kind.
George was murdered – his crime, the colour of his skin.
This might seem like just another rant, but this is me finally understanding and realising how grave the situation is. For a long time I would listen to the news, hear of a tragedy like this one, shake my head, write an angry status on facebook and move on with my life.
Today I don’t want to do that. I want to understand what minorities are actually going through. This doesn’t happen to just African Americans, but to everyone who is considered less than a group of people with more influence.
Churches are burnt down, black people hunted down, Christians burnt alive, Muslims feared, daughters sold.. the list goes on and on and on
but so does our life.
I was all about #AllLivesMatter. I thought, yes black people have it tough, but you can’t guilt trip someone for being born white or rich or with better circumstances – that is true, but you also can’t murder someone for being born Black.
My boyfriend and I recently went on a trip to Chicago to visit his family over the Christmas holidays. It was my second time being in the states, it was amazing but one of the (many) things that stuck out to me was the amount of police cars on the road stopping people. I started filming every time I saw police cars and one night it was our turn to be stopped.
I started filming so I could add to my “chicago police montage” when I started feeling uneasy. I’m brown, could pass off as Latina and my partner is Korean. I had watched my fair share of movies and read enough news articles to know what happens to minorities, especially African Americans, when policemen think they are above the law.
This feeling lasted all of 10 seconds, we were let go with a warning and it never happened again.
Today I understand that the “uneasiness” I felt, is a feeling that most African American people live with everyday of their life (x1000). Whether they are stopped by a police officer or walking to the grocery store, this feeling is something that is constantly reminding them that they don’t matter, and that today could be their last day here.
Racial discrimination is not something that is discussed very often in our culture… actually discrimination towards anything isn’t discussed. Our culture is not one to bring “taboo” or “uncomfortable” topics to light. Everything is turned into a joke and laughed at, we brush the hurt away and drown it out with laughter.
“You’re too fat, you’re too skinny, you’re too palagi (white), you’re too dark, you’re disabled so you are dumb. Stop speaking, you’re too closed minded or too open minded – do not disrespect me, do as I tell you because I’m older and I said so. Why are you upset, you’re too sensitive, stop getting hurt so easily it was just a joke..“
These are sentences that you will here everyday here in Samoa. This is embedded in our people, we mock people who are different and get offended if they get hurt, we call people palagi when they are too white for our taste and then laugh at someone who spent time in the sun. “Oka se Meauli!” (Wow you’re so black!).
Even the N-word has no substance here. No meaning, no racial connotation – there is no hurt attached, no understanding to the word. It is just a fun word to throw around.
There is so much hurt and ignorance that has been built into our bones that nothing bothers or hurts us anymore.
I want to talk about what has is happening in the US because I don’t want to be a part of the problem anymore. Maybe I won’t be making a difference in the states directly, but I can make a difference in my own community here. I can start by telling someone to stop mocking her because she thinks differently, I can be honest and tell someone to stop calling me palagi and not samoan enough just because I can’t speak the language.. I can also tell someone to stop calling him black if you mean it in a derogatory way.
Ignorance is not bliss, ignorance is why racism is still around. Ignorance is why people like George Floyd are still being murdered in broad daylight because they are black and “looked suspicious”.
You can start in your community, you can bring awareness with something relatable. I did not fully understand the situation in the US until I sat down and talked about it with someone who lived in the heart of it all. Start with your home, make a change in whatever community you are in, yes all lives matter, but today I am standing with my brothers and sisters in the UNITED States to share light on this subject.
Black Lives Matter, they always have and they always will.
We are a Christian nation founded on God. This is one thing we Samoans as a nation all agree on and are all so proud of. If we truly believe that we are a Christian nation, then let’s do what Jesus did and help the hurt, the less than and the outcasts. Let’s be the voice for the oppressed, let us lift one another up,encourage and love one another just as we have been taught.
Jesus did not sit around and say “Kalofae”, he did not laugh at someone and called them “meauli”, he sat with the blind, healed the sick, hung out with the outcasts, and spoke on what He believed without fear of being persecuted.
Faavae i le Atua Samoa (God be the Foundation of Samoa) I am proud that God is our foundation, but actions are louder than a “Tagline”.
We just celebrated Samoa’s 58th year of independence. Let’s make a change, let us show that we are more than a tagline. Let us live out our motto
This is the Samoa that I want to be proud of.